Let’s talk London. Mostly because I am almost always thinking about London.
My one year sojourn in the UK was a very long breath of fresh air, much needed after an editorial job that had me much too absorbed in Shanghai. Everything was new again! I didn’t know anyone. Needed to learn a new tube system, grasp the local slang and to find that certain special cafe that I could escape to. I embraced London with my arms very, very wide open. Eyes and ears and everything else quickly followed.
Euphorium Bakery became the place where I wrote most of my dissertation on globalisation and its effects on children’s book design. Monmouth Coffee, to me, still serves the best coffee – and lining up around the corner at the Borough Market branch is always worth it, because it’s usually followed by a walk over to the Tate. I even did a tour of the Highgate Cemetery, because, for whatever reason, it seemed poetic and not scary (it was still scary). I took full advantage of free admissions to museums and galleries, squealing an internal “yippee!” each time I saw the chandelier at the entrance to the V+A. I survived rainy days and a dreary winter with copious amounts of tea. I loved getting lost on purpose, and what a luxury it is to be able to say that.
And if I get into the sidetrips that I’d taken during my time there, this entry would take another form as a love letter from a forlorn ex-lover who still obsessed over memories and…wait. So anyway, I hopped on trains often, and ventured left, right, and sideways, taking in sights and snapping away on my Nikon in sweet, poetic, often Medieval towns like Brighton, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwick and Weymouth.
I’m lucky. After I moved back to Shanghai, London found me in the form of a job. This gives me an excuse – not only a reason – to return to London every so often. My next visit is in a few weeks and I. cannot. wait.
The question now is, how can I bring back that sense of curiosity, tap into the innate need to explore and see and do and learn, every single day?
Photo: London, 2010.